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The Leiding family ready for a busy week at the fair

Mon, Jul 23rd, 2012
Posted in Chatfield Features

Twin sisters Haely and Kayla Leiding, age 15, have literally grown up with animals and 4-H. They live outside of Fountain with their parents, Todd and Stacy. Their mother, Stacy, also grew up on a farm and was very involved in 4-H.

The girls are showing cattle in both the Olmsted County Fair and the Fillmore County Fair at the same time this year. They will also be showing at the State Fair, which they have done for many years. According to Haely, they are showing a total of 12 cows this year.

“We joined 4-H in second grade, but we have been showing since age two,” shared Haely.

The girls are showing cows in almost every class there is, in a range of ages. The youngest one was one of Kayla’s that was born in March. They spend a lot of time getting them ready and taking care of them.

“We walk them and train them every day,” said Kayla. “Then a few days before the fair we clip them and get them looking nice.”

The morning of the show is a busy one, and they have to get up very early to groom their animals. According to Haely, they show wearing all white as not to be a distraction for the animal. They walk in a circle and let the judges check the cows for good udders, their legs and feet, and their body shape.

Kayla explained the special feed they give the cows the morning of the show. “It’s called Beat Pulp,” she said. “It makes them look fuller.”

Once the fair is underway, the girls are busy staying with their animals all day. They have to wash them every day and take care of them.

“With the dairy cows, you have to stay with them all the time, and clean up after them,” explained Haely.

The sheep get washed, walked, and sheered as well for showing.

“It’s fun,” said Kayla with a smile.

“It’s nice to have friends that do similar things and you have that common interest,” Haely added. “You learn responsibility, you have to take care of the animals and give them the most attention you can.”

“What you get into it is what you get out of it,” said Stacy.

Haely enjoys meeting new people. “It’s also a network for later in life,” she said. “These are people that can get you jobs later.”

When asked if she thinks the work is a good experience for her children, Stacy replied, “Absolutely. They learn hard work and dedication from a young age. We have to work as a team unit here.”

Haely and Kayla attend school in Lanesboro and are also involved in many sports. The farm life keeps them very busy, with chores, animals to take care of and train, and showing for 4-H during the summer. They are also involved in Quiz Bowl teams, which Stacy coaches.

“It’s a busy life, but it’s a nice way to raise a family,” said Stacy. “It’s very rewarding.”

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